Michelle Rhee’s Next Move: Florida Governor-Elect Rick Scott’s Transition Team

Dec 2, 2010 5:22pm

ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:

An interesting move for former Washington, DC schools chief Michelle Rhee. She's joining Florida Republican Governor-elect Rick Scott’s education transition team.

Scott’s office made the announcement today, calling Rhee “a nationally recognized education reformer,” who along with 17 other education leaders and experts — mostly Floridians — would help the governor-elect “find innovative ways to create a new education system for a new economy.”

"I am happy to be of service to Governor Elect Scott and the state of Florida," Rhee said in a statement to ABC News. "When it comes to improving our schools for our children, I will work with Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and people who have general interest in making schools great for our children.”

It was less than two months ago that Rhee announced she was stepping down as chancellor of the district’s troubled public school system after a controversial three-and-a-half year term.

During that period, Rhee ignited controversy for her aggressive efforts to reform Washington’s schools and clashed with teachers unions — a point that has not been lost on Republicans like Scott.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has also held Rhee up as a “superwoman in education” and a foe of unions.

Rhee served under DC's Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty, who lost a primary battle to City Council Chairman Vincent Gray. Fenty's political career became closely tied to Rhee's controversial tenure, and shortly after his defeat Rhee decided to resign.

But in the process, Rhee gained national notoriety and her next move has been the subject of speculation in education and political circles. She remained mum about her decision to join Scott's transition team in an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" Wednesday night.

"What is next for you? What job will you be forced out of next?" host Stephen Colbert joked to Rhee on the program.

"Well, hopefully I won't be forced out of any job," Rhee replied, "but I'm trying to figure out what makes sense right now in terms of a next job."

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